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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 16, 2009 5:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tempo

I've babbled on about it before, and Rob or LiA might find that by doing this off the top of my head I contradict myself, but StSt is one of the all time "consistency in tempo change" in the history of the band.

When they first do it in June or so of 68, it is fast paced, with just Jerry singing, and Phil adding in a bit (but no Bob). They repeat the last verse, and all told, it comes in at about 8 min, which is long, but again, fast tempo. Jerry just cooks on the lead, some of favorite examples of all time, found on 6-14, and then the two "mystery disk" versions that appear to be of the same time period (check out LiA's discussion by searching on his handle and the song title).

By Aug, 68, of course, they have "settled" on the short and sweet StSt's, of about 4 min, and these last thru Dec, 68. The one interesting aspect is that they play with a variant, loping style used in Aox out-takes, some of which appear to be from that fall, or early in 69, which only shows up live at the Bellarmine show of 7 Dec 68.

The next phase is the slower version that "sticks" for 69 and 70, thru 71. This is the "most famous" in that it is adopted for Live Dead and the Fillmore Shows of Feb-Mar, 69. It does slow a bit more, but still categorized (IMHO) with this "third" version, toward the end of 70 (eg, 19 Sep 70; various shows of 71, like 6 Aug).

Then, the post hiatus break version, of 76 on to the end, is the much slower version (think Donna adding harmony) represents the final stage in its tempo evolution.

The difference for this song is that it is a slow and steady evolution, except for the odd placement, in time, of fall 68 and spring 69, in which Aox like versions are juxtaposed with the Live Dead versions. That is, live, they are doing something different from what they are doing in the studio, unless someone can confirm that the Bellarmine version, close to the Aox version in "sound", was somehow close to the studio time for Aox (ie, Dec of 68, not spring of 69). Interestingly, though, the June 68 version is closest to the Aox version in overall length and repetition of the last verse.

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Oct 17, 2009 10:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tempo

I think song tempo changes are part of the 'great divide' between old farts and young whippersnappers.

BTW - did you ever get into the revised vocal bridge in the 76 Stevens? Or were you already lost by then?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 17, 2009 11:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tempo

This, StSt that is, was one of the tempo evolutions that I find "good", interesting, etc. Of course, I love the extended Aox version, and the Jun 68 versions that are perhaps closest to it, BUT I also love the two other versions: 4 min "fast" of fall 68 and 6 min "long" of 69-71...the 6-8 (?) "long" of post 75 leaves me flat (I've spoken of not recognizing it the first time I heard it, summer of 76 at the Orpheum I think, and then Oct of 76 at Oak Col...I do think that Donna adds nice harmonies, given the laid back, almost ToLayMeDown style tempo they approach, but because of my love for the intense, high energy versions of 68-71, whether they were 4 or 8 min long, fast or slow, I just think they are the best song ever...in that format esp.

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Oct 17, 2009 3:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tempo

Hey, I was at those Orpheum shows too. I agree, the singing was great - I just didn't like the revision in the middle. I just don't think waltz tempos belong in Dead music. There, I've said it - I feel much better now.

Speaking of the Orpheum, I found my notes recently (housecleaning has its uses, and I notice that I wrote one word for the newly revised FOTD - Noooo! :)

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